FALL 2009

Edward Field


No two people are compatible –
even my identical twin brothers aren’t talking. –
and a half century living with one person
doesn’t qualify me to say what it takes.
Anyway, my case is special – but then, they all are.

It’s always a question of what are you getting out of it,
and what are the compromises,
can you stomach them,
and for how long – forever?
For me it’s forever -- at my age
you’d be crazy to hope for better.

I can go on forever about the shit I have to put up with --
don’t ask me! --
but he also puts up with my shit –
so who’s perfect?
After the novelty of the early rapture,
it becomes like a puzzle to work on,
and for them, I don’t know, something’s
got to be keeping them around --
for some, it’s those great meals, for others, that source of funds.
But nobody owns another person’s sexuality,
and in love or not, men’s is pretty much of the roving kind.

An elegant woman I know whose husband screwed around shamelessly
said to a friend in the same predicament,
‘We’ve both married bastards.’
Did she think it would be better with another?
They both married men.

A different way of looking at it
is to see your mate as a pet.
You’d never expect your dog or cat
to be anything but a dog or a cat
so look on him as what he is --
a creature of a different species,
with quirks that make you laugh,
even when they run around sniffing at every asshole.

The reality is that a man’s first commitment
must be to his dick.
Domestic comforts never lull it to sleep,
even in old age, and when they find someone
who revives the old dog,
they will unhook the leash and go bounding away.

I have a woman friend, whose partner,
after years together, with sex no longer much of an issue,
fell in love with a younger woman,
and when she met her rival,
they liked each other immensely, and my friend
simply invited her to live with them.
They became a family, a three instead of a two.
It worked out brilliantly.

But if the disruption of his latest affair
finally becomes unacceptable, the way he parades her around,
is it possible to reconsider,
break up even after a lifetime together,
reject the compromises, ask for more…more what?
respect? or maybe just to be seen
not as part of the wallpaper, the furniture,
not to be treated like the family servant,
though you never really minded that before,
until he confessed in tears his new love
and wanted you, his best friend, to understand?
Pitiful! A man should know better.

In general, expecting his respect to justify your life
or you’re worthless -- that’s misery.
The answer is Selfishness – liberate that selfish child
and feed yourself,
do your hour of yoga, write your poems,
play your own music –

and for a man, pay attention to your own penis
rather than his for a change.

Unfortunately, at our age, we’ll be alone soon enough,
so maybe you just have to accept the deal you made,
settle for what is, and leave for another life
all the wonderful possibilities,
what could have been an oh-so-comfortable old age,
and a gentle sliding together, the two of you, into death.

Edward Field's latest book is "Kabuli Days, Travels In Old Afghanistan" available from worldparadebooks.com.



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